HackIowa Moves UI Up in National Hackathon Rankings

A new student organization on campus, HackIowa, has made waves this semester in the computer science and technology community by raising the standard for University of Iowa students.

The organization's efforts are reflected in a national ranking by Major League Hacking, an organization that funds and manages hackathons around the globe, which has placed the University of Iowa at #7 out of 700+ national and international universities. This rank places Iowa above Cornell University, John Hopkins, Stanford and many others. Last year, Iowa was ranked #102.

HackIowa was founded by a group of students wishing to provide a community to support student involvement in hackathons, which are 12-48 hour problem solving marathons hosted by companies and public and private universities around the world. These events give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to compete with other schools and students for prizes by collaborating in teams of up to 4 members to design and implement unique programming solutions to a wide variety of problems.

This year, Iowa students traveled to hackathons at  Purdue University, the University of Missouri, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Northwestern University, Iowa State University, Washington University - St Louis, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, learning new things, meeting new companies and individuals, winning prizes and emphasizing the strength of Iowa’s tech programs, particularly the Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments.

Beyond hackathons, HackIowa is actively engaging a large student body on campus by hosting various tech-focused events. More than 200 students attended seven events held by the club over the fall semester. A series of four technical workshops were held, covering a wide range of topics including machine learning, web programming, data science visualization, and a tutorial on Git. The organization has partnered with a local business, the Signal Center, to provide relevant talks describing various parts of the tech industry. To end the year, the group hosted their first local community hack day, an all day event with 40+ students in attendance, in collaboration with other Computer Science student organizations on campus: ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), and WiCS (Women in Computer Science).

In the coming semesters, HackIowa aims to increase student attendance and engagement in hackathons even more, build their community locally by hosting more of their own events and workshops, and one day host a hackathon of their own.